1. Your sibling gets a letter offering them free time travel. What do you do?
Buy them a copy of the 1994 classic, Timecop, starring the incomparable Jean-Claude Van Damme, and tell them to do their homework.
You are a cool sibling. I would be like "Are you nuts?!" It would all go down the circles of hell from there. If I got the letter however I would have them do experiments first. Lots of experiments. Hey, I don't want to get transported back to before women's rights or worse slavery. Hey, I'm just stating the facts here.
2. Why did you write Sam as a hard working educated adult with vices? Why not clean cut or a slacker?
Isn’t it more interesting that way? Black and white characters aren’t terribly engaging, at least not to me. If Sam had been an unapologetic slacker with a drinking and drug problem, it might have been intriguing for a hot minute, but would have worn thin quickly. Conversely, if Sam was written as a hard-working adult without any vices at all, it would have been even less interesting.
While I actually like seeing clean cut people get into trouble sometimes I must agree that the slacker character has been over used to death and is not only worn thin but ancient.
3. Obvious Child is quite a title. Who came up with it?
It is a reference to the Paul Simon song, ‘The Obvious Child’ from his 1990 album ‘The Rhythm of the Saints.’ Its use in the book is a play on the song title via a few other elements from my book’s story. So to answer your question, I did, with a little inspiration from Paul Simon.
That's very interesting. I posed this question because sometimes titles are created by publishers who might believe the writer's title isn't good enough or needs to be more attention grabbing. So it's nice that you came up with it and also have a story behind the title Warren.
4. Did the obsession with reality shows today inspire you to write the novel as you did?
Without a doubt. Reality programming is, to me at least, the lowest form of entertainment: it’s just unredeemable. Networks tend to gravitate towards it because it is cheap to produce, as there aren’t really any actors to pay or sets to build. This is all possible because it is all based on the assumption that what a person is watching is “real,” yet nearly all of it is scripted, and it is cheap drama at that. What a person is left with, then, is a program that is little more than a watered-down soap opera with non-actors, bad production values, and a writing staff that couldn’t cut it on a real show. This is all depressing in and of itself, but when a person considers how popular these programs are, and how pervasive they have become (look at the line-ups for The “History” and “Discovery” Channels, and tell me what kind of programs you see), a writer can’t help but to be inspired.
Those channels still have better stuff going on than Honey Boo Boo *shudders*. Plus The History and Discovery Channel actually show a lot of informative shows and I love when mythology or real life issues are discussed. Thank you! I can't stand reality shows and I'm glad your book shows both sides to this annoyingly unending phenomenon. I'll keep to my scripted shows. Even Once Upon A Time on ABC is more real than some of the junk these reality shows want to push as 'real life'. My eye.
5. What are you trying to share about the pros and cons of time travel?
Surprisingly little. Although the revelation of time travel is a driving force behind the events of ‘Obvious Child,’ the story is really more concerned with the journey of its main character, Sam Grant. He’s a recently graduated student with a Masters in History and a completely burned-out disposition following six gruelling years of higher education. Kind of like Dustin Hoffman’s character in The Graduate, Sam is a young adult trying to figure out what it means to be a man. Unfortunately for Sam, he becomes one of the most famous people in the world right in the middle of this self-discovery, and has to juggle a few other considerations on top of that like a sudden celebrity makeover and everything that comes with it.
I could have gone for more time travel but Sam is a character to read. The man can get himself into all sorts of trouble and then there are the people who want that to happen and the reality show fans...oh...I can never be a reality show fanatic...no.
6. What would you like to tell potential readers about Obvious Child?
It reads fast, takes no prisoners, and has a fair amount of whiskey drinking, pot smoking, and mischief. People swear, fight, blast each other with fire extinguishers, and pee on things in various states of inebriation. Oh, Brad Pitt, Al Roker, Conan O’Brien, and President Obama all make cameos as well. It’s a hoot.
Oh the peeing. Another reason why I'll never even be a casual drinker. 1000% sober for life. Start early if you want to be like me folks. Or at least don't get that drunk. Please.
7. The cover is very eye grabbing. How did such a creative cover come about?
A graphic artist named LJ Anderson that works with my publisher put that together. A lot of work went into getting an image of the time travel device in the background just right, but I think LJ straight-up nailed it.
I'm blown away by the cover so I have to concur on LJ's amazing work.
8. Is there any message you would like readers to take from your book?
Don’t falsify federal documents, smoke pot on the clock, or drink deeply of the bourbon whiskey before you’re scheduled to tape an appearance on Conan. Oh, and remember: no one is allowed to touch you in your bathing suit area.
Great tip. Maybe even keep a buddy. Like a bat for those touchy feely people.
9. What advice do you have for those hoping to become published authors?
Three things. (1) Write every day, no matter what the subject or format. (2) Get used to rejection and criticism: they are the unfailing companions of any true writer. (3) Put your writing in the mail, and keep it there. You’ll never get published if you don’t submit.
Excellent advice. Too many would be writers throw in the towel too early. Perseverance is an important ingredient all writers need if they want to come out on the other side of the journey to get published or even finishing a novel.
10. Is there anything else you would like to say before this interview is over? Now is your time, go.
I love to travel, and love meeting my fans even more. Thus, any country whose book sales exceed 1000 copies will earn a personal visit from yours truly. Simply put, if a country/territory outside of the continental United States buys a thousand copies or more of ‘Obvious Child,’ and a fan invites me to an organized reading and book signing event, I’ll spend my own money to come out and visit. This offer is good throughout 2014, and only excludes really scary countries with bad diplomatic relations with the U.S. (sorry North Korea and Iran: you’re out).
Well I'm from Jamaica and the only thing that would hold you back to coming here is the book selling all those copies here and also the exorbitant book prices. Seriously paperback Allegiant cost more than a 3D Movie Ticket (and the price rose last December in theatres). Anyway thanks for stopping by Warren and I'm sure readers are informed enough to decide if they'd like to give your book a look. But just in case here's all the details below and even a photo of Warren himself and the cool cover.
Published By The Writer's Coffee Shop
Sam Grant doesn’t want to be famous, but he doesn’t have much of a say in the matter.
On the verge of graduating from college with his master’s in History, Sam and the rest of the world bear witness to the invention of time travel. Revealed via a YouTube broadcast, the brothers responsible for inventing time travel find their remarkable device coopted by the U.S. government. In a magnanimous gesture, the U.S. government holds a worldwide competition to decide who will be the first time traveler in history. This turns Sam’s world upside down after a half-baked joke application he sends in gets him accepted as a contestant for consideration.
Thrust into a political and media blender set to puree, Sam and his fellow contestants vie for the affections of a worldwide audience who will vote on the eventual winner. As the successive rounds of the contest pass by, and Sam tries everything from indifference to wild irreverence to get himself voted out of the competition, he finds that all his actions only serve to make him more popular.
As the contest goes on, Sam and the time travel project become more of a referendum on our society’s fascination with celebrity disasters, and what they will do to make sure the entertainment doesn’t stop anytime soon. Unable to get out of the contest via logical means, Sam learns to embrace the perks sudden celebrity provides, yet also suffers some of its typical consequences.
Stuck between two worlds—one he can’t handle, and another he can’t control—Sam finds himself considering a third option, one that has him confronting a time traveling reality that terrifies him to his very core.
Warren Cantrell is a film and music critic based out of Seattle, Washington. One of the few surviving journalists of the Gonzo school, Mr. Cantrell’s work has appeared in such publications as Lost in Reviews and Scene-Stealers.
A classically trained scholar with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in History, Mr. Cantrell has spent the majority of his time since graduation writing novels and paying off his student loans. Working as a critic and an on-the-ground correspondent, Mr. Cantrell has covered the Seattle International and Sundance Film Festivals and has had the pleasure of interviewing people ranging from Sissy Spacek to Joss Whedon.
As an established film and music critic, Mr. Cantrell finds that it is best to keep his political views private, except to say that he feels Greedo definitely did not shoot first and that The Misfits ceased to exist the moment Danzig left the band.
A life-long Arizona Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Phoenix Suns fan, Mr. Cantrell enjoys fast cars, Italian opera, Norwegian cinema, Kentucky bourbon, and Motörhead concerts.
Connect with the Author
I completely forgot to post on Friday and feel awful. But I have made some progress by launching AYA Forever, my AYA blog where I will post about the genre I'm working on as well as find like minded authors who would like to do interviews. I also plan to share my own work as well as the process to take AYA mainstream. Wish me luck!
P.S.: Tomorrow is the start of the A-Z Challenge. I will be taking a break from IWSG, Celebrate the small things and Express Yourself Meme until May. Can't wait to see what you guys have planned for your first post on Tuesday.